Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Rotund Rodents Distort Results

Failure to recognize that many laboratory animals live unhealthy lives may be leading researchers to misinterpret their findings, according to Nature News. Writing in PNAS, researchers at the National Institute on Aging discuss that many laboratory mice and rats are metabolically morbid, and, consequently, will die sooner than animals of normal weight. “The most logical way to extrapolate is to say any data we obtain in the animal model would be more relevant to overweight, sedentary humans than normal-weight, active individuals,” Mark Mattson, a co-author on the paper, told Nature News. The NIA team suggests that researchers not allow their animals constant access to food, but rather feed them every other day and include an exercise wheel in their cages. The team also suggests that murine-based studies which conclude that caloric restriction increases lifespan be reconsidered, given that many animals are scored against an unhealthy baseline.

On that same theme, a study in Cell Metabolism from researchers at the University of Alberta have found that decreasing the activity of triacylglycerol hydrolase in mice lowers the amount of fat in the blood and improves glucose metabolism. It also appears to keep fat out of organs that weren't meant to store it, such as the liver, and protects the pancreas's insulin-producing beta cells. Mice lacking the TGH enzyme also burned more fat and were more physically active than those with the enzyme. The researchers hope that TGH could be a target for drugs to combat obesity, and its metabolic complications such as diabetes.

The Scan

Genetic Tests Lead to Potential Prognostic Variants in Dutch Children With Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Researchers in Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine found that the presence of pathogenic or likely pathogenic variants was linked to increased risk of death and poorer outcomes in children with pediatric dilated cardiomyopathy.

Fragile X Syndrome Mutations Found With Comprehensive Testing Method

Researchers in Clinical Chemistry found fragile X syndrome expansions and other FMR1 mutations with ties to the intellectual disability condition using a long-range PCR and long-read sequencing approach.

Team Presents Strategy for Speedy Species Detection in Metagenomic Sequence Data

A computational approach presented in PLOS Computational Biology produced fewer false-positive species identifications in simulated and authentic metagenomic sequences.

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.